Slim Thug Biography
Last updated: 11/08/2011 11:00:00 AM
When Slim Thug decided to name his major label debut, Already Platinum, the Houston, Texas-based rapper wasn't suffering from a bout of wishful thinking. On the contrary, he was stating a fact: a bold proclamation that even though he was anonymous to most people outside the state of Texas, he had already sold enough records in his home state to be certified a veritable rap star. Now the rest of the country will be able to hear what's made Slim Thug Already Platinum.
Slim Thug's major-label debut solo album will be released by Geffen Records through Star Trak, the label founded and fun by mega-star producers The Neptunes. "I felt like I did everything I could as an independent," Slim Thug says about moving onto the national stage. "This is going to take me to different cities and have the people who never felt me before, feel me like they do in Houston."
Slim Thug is a towering MC who made a name for himself standing above a crowded fray of southern rappers. Houston's rich tradition of stark, visual and melodic hip-hop includes Scarface, the Geto Boys and DJ Screw, and even now the city is overflowing with a number of talented MCs. Yet with his big, bass-filled southern twang and a versatile rhyming style, Slim Thug has become the city's most preeminent lyrical export.
He first made his mark as a mixtape star, dropping rhymes over hot hip-hop instrumentals, honing his verbal lyricism and street tales over whatever style of beat was thrown his way. The mixtapes were a form of boot camp for Slim, he says. "You got all these types of beats and you gotta come with one flow after another. It makes you a better rapper."
Slim Thug had spent his youth running the streets of the north side of Houston, and never thought he'd get down as a rapper. "I thought I'd end up like my brothers, in jail or something," he says. He had dabbled a bit as a rapper but when local superstar producer Michael Watts, who perfects the Chopped & Screwed style of hip-hop through his Swisha House crew, heard Slim, he knew he had to put him on his tapes. His first appearance came on "Swisha House 98," which not only made Slim an immediate mixtape star but teased his appetite for the rap game. "I got with Michael Watts and we got to selling mixtapes and doing shows. All of a sudden you're getting money and that's when I knew it was serious, when people liked your shit."
Houston is plainly divided between its North side rappers and its South side rappers, but Slim Thug, who was raised in the North, is one of the few who could easily get down with camps on both sides. "Not too many who could do that," he says. "But I was never into that hazing shit as far as not liking the South side. I was just about my money."
Indeed, complimenting Slim's rhyming abilities are his skills as a businessman and entrepreneur. Once he got his taste for the rap game, Slim set out and created his own record label, Boss Hog Outlawz, in 2000, which would release music by him and his crew. Slim used his expertise selling mixtapes and hustling to quickly master all the finer points of the music business – finding talent, manufacturing, distribution – in establishing a successful venture. "It was real tricky, 'specially if you've never done nothing like that before," admits Slim. "But if you have something you know people want, you learn real fast. I figured out the hustle from the mixtapes real early. And my whole dream about being in the music business wasn't to be a rapper alone. It was always to be a CEO of my own company. Because really, if you ask me, I'm a background kind of cat. I don't like to be out front all the time."
Slim's entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive. Boss Hog Outlawz will release Chopped & Screwed versions of all Slim's major label work as well as more independent albums and mixtapes from Houston's finest. In addition, Slim has extended his business-sense beyond the music industry. He owns two record stores in the Houston area and numerous real-estate properties. He also has aspirations to soon own a car dealership and a strip club. "Once you get your money," he says, "you gotta keep gettin' your money."
Already Platinum will be Slim Thug's solo debut, after releasing three albums on his indie Boss Hogs Outlawz label: Boss Hog Outlawz by Slim Thug and ESG; The Big Unit by Slim Thug and Lil Keke; and the Boyz –N- Blue compilation by the Boss Hog Outlawz, Slim Thug's crew. The name of the crew plays on Slim's own nickname, Boss Hog, which he earned because of the car he used to drive, a drop-top '75 Cadillac, "just like the one Boss Hog used to drive in the 'Dukes of Hazzard,'" he says. The idea of the Outlawz was born because Slim and his comrades felt they were running the city, "like the street police – the real police."
It may seem surprising that Slim Thug is working with the Neptunes on Already Platinum – but not to him. He feels that with all the freestyles he's dropped over Neptunes-produced instrumentals on the mixtape circuit, "I damn near did rhyme over all their stuff already." Slim Thug met Pharrell when he would come into town for shows and promotional appearances. "I ended up doing a song with Fam-Lay (also on Star Track) and Pharrell liked what he heard." Enough to sign him to their label.
The Neptunes produced [9?] songs on Already Platinum, including "I Ain't Heard of That," the first single [STILL TRUE?]. "That song is basically like an introduction to me. It tells everything about me, from the record deal to just how a nigga livin'." Another Neptunes-produced song is "Like A Boss." With its sped-up, machine-gun percussion, Slim Thug rides the track like a bull at a rodeo, bragging and boasting only the way he can.
Other producers on Almost Platinum include Jazze Pha, who laces Slim with a slicked-out, back-porch soul jam, "Incredible Feeln'." "I had to beg him for that track. He was going to use it on his own album but I wanted it so bad." The contrast between Jazze Pha's soulful melody and Slim Thug's hefty vocals gives the song a tangy, southern flavor. "3 Kings" features Bun B and T.I., rounding up three hot southern talents. "Me and T.I. are cool for a long time. Me and Bun good friends, too – he's like one of the forefathers of this shit down here. He's like a Scarface to me, one of the biggest," says Slim.
The album shows off many different styles that Slim Thug feels makes him a universal MC, despite his Texas roots. "I'm what you call versatile," he says. He'll soon have a real plaque certifying his appeal – not that he needs it. In his world, Slim Thug is Already Platinum.